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California Trade Report for June 2021

Below are highlights from the recently released trade data from the US Census Bureau and US Bureau of Economic Analysis.

While goods flow through the state’s ports have largely returned to pre-pandemic levels and begun an expansion, port congestion continues to delay shipments, adding to shortages of both components and finished goods and contributing to the current inflationary surge. On August 5, the Marine Exchange reported 29 container ships and 53 ships total waiting anchored offshore the San Pedro Bay ports, up from 25/43 ships the week prior. The ports, however, are only at the beginning of the supply chain congestion, with rail capacity, shortages of truck drivers, and a drive by companies to rebuild inventories all contributing to the system-wide issues that extend beyond California to ports in other states and nations as well.

Share of Goods through US Ports

CA Share Of Total Trade
Through US Ports

The share of total US goods trade (exports and imports) through California ports dipped to 17.96% (12-month moving average; compared to 18.10% in May 2021 and 17.49% in June 2020).

California remained the #1 state, ahead of Texas with 17.26% (compared to 17.16% in May 2021 and 17.38% in June 2020). Trade through the Atlantic port states was at 30.43% (compared to 30.44% in May 2021 and 30.37% in June 2020). The state’s continued to lead in this area forms the trade-related base for one of California’s largest centers of middle-class, blue-collar jobs. Transportation & Warehousing alone provided 699,300 jobs in June.

While the total trade flows were up 25.4% from last June, this rise reflects the recovery of trade from pandemic lows rather than the overall growth in this activity—as is the case with all other 12-month rates below. Compared to pre-pandemic June 2019, total trade flows were up 3.9% on an annual basis. In real terms (using personal consumption expenditures excluding food and energy index), the annual increase was only 1.6%, an indication that trade levels have largely recovered rather than substantially grown.

California Goods Exports

Billion Change In Exports

Total California goods exports were up $3.3 billion from June 2020 (recovered 27.8%). In real terms, goods exports rose only 0.9% on an annual basis compared to June 2019. California remained in 2nd place with 10.64% of all US goods exports (12-month moving total), behind Texas at 19.84%.

California's Balance for Goods Trade

Billion Of Goods Trade

California’s balance of goods trade activity through state businesses broadened to -$24.9 billion, compared to a level of -$20.6 billion in June 2020. California trade accounted for 26% of the US trade deficit in goods in June 2021.

Top 20 Exports, June 2021

Top 20 exports by value are shown below, along with the change from June 2020.

Commodity June 2021 Exports ($b.) Change from June 2020
Semiconductors & Other Electronic Components $1.0 -0.3%
Industrial Machinery 0.9 17.8%
Aerospace Products & Parts 0.9 62.2%
Navigational/measuring/medical/control Instrument 0.8 5.6%
Pharmaceuticals & Medicines 0.8 32.4%
Fruits & Tree Nuts 0.8 26.3%
Computer Equipment 0.8 17.4%
Communications Equipment 0.7 46.4%
Waste &Scrap 0.6 45.9%
Miscellaneous Manufactured Commodities 0.6 35.2%
Medical Equipment & Supplies 0.5 43.5%
Petroleum & Coal Products 0.3 212.1%
Used Or Second-hand Merchandise 0.3 117.6%
Electrical Equipment & Components, Nesoi 0.3 0.9%
Commercial & Service Industry Machinery 0.3 43.7%
Basic Chemicals 0.3 28.8%
Other General Purpose Machinery 0.2 9.2%
Foods, Nesoi 0.2 15.7%
Motor Vehicle Parts 0.2 30.8%
Plastics Products 0.2 11.3%


Top 10 Export Markets, June 2021

Country June 2021 Exports ($b) Change from June 2020
Mexico $2.3 9.9%
Canada 1.5 17.7%
China 1.4 14.5%
Japan 1.0 30.8%
Korea, South 0.9 6.8%
Germany 0.8 45.9%
Taiwan 0.7 27.5%
Hong Kong 0.6 31.8%
India 0.5 68.1%
Netherlands 0.5 56.6%